articles for photographers

Panasonic S5: delve into the details

About the features of this camera already wrote before. In this article I want to go through the nuances that are not obvious at first glance. I had opportunity familiarize yourself with this camera and test it.

My experience with the Panasonic S5

The camera is relatively small, not very heavy. Since the Panasonic G9 lay nearby and there was something to compare with, I will say that the grip and handle of the S5 are not the most comfortable. In general, it's okay, but models like the Panasonic S1 or G9 feel better in the hand. By the way, Panasonic G9 on micre 4/3 heavier than the Panasonic S5 at full frame.

Since I was testing the camera indoors in low light, it caught my eye relatively weak viewfinder. On paper, it has 2.36 million dots, which is pretty decent. But in fact it is weaker than Fujifilm X-S10. The viewfinder is smaller and in those conditions flickered, regardless of shutter speed. There was no flicker on Fujifilm.

3 inch screen with a resolution of 1.84 million points is normal, but clearly not top-end. Screens in cameras Canon R/R6/R5 significantly benefit. There seems to be a small difference between 3 inches (Panasonic) and 3.2 inches (Canon), but it feels good when you hold the cameras side by side.

Autofocus average. Panasonic scold autofocus so much, as if it were not there at all. This is not true. There is really no autofocus Blackmagic cameras. In the Panasonic S5, it is quite functional, but of course it is inferior to other cameras on the market. In very low light in photo mode, there were dark places in the room where the Panasonic S5 did not want to focus at all, and the Fujifilm X-S10 aimed without problems. But we did some tests where the S5 did quite well even in servo mode.

In general, autofocus is slow. The quality of his work depends on the lighting. But nevertheless, for many real tasks it will be enough.

By the way, the Panasonic S5 does not have autofocus on the eyes, only on the faces. The difference will be felt when shooting large facial portraits with f2 and wider lenses. For optics with f2.8 and darker, there is plenty of focus on faces.

Pleasantly surprised that video The Panasonic S5 holds autofocus well if you want to film yourself in blog mode. More old panasonics on mic 4/3 they did not cope with this task. Here you can also put the camera and shoot yourself with tracking AF.

Slow motion: nuance

In this camera, the slow-motion mode was cut. On paper, you get the same 180fps in FullHD as on the Panasonic S1. Only at S5 at the same time bitrate only 20Mbit, which is clearly not enough for such a number of frames per second.

In 4K 60fps, the bitrate is normal, but "only" 8bit, instead of 10bit at 4K 30fps. 4K 60fps this camera shoots in crop mode.

Lenses

I had the opportunity to feel the new Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6. I liked the lens. I recommend taking it as a whale to this camera. If you take it immediately with a set with a camera, it turns out very profitable.

panasonic 20-60mm

The lens is plastic, weight 350 grams. I was pleasantly surprised by its compactness. The zoom ring is tight. Unlike zoom lenses on the Nikon Z-mount, it does not need to be extended to get started. It feels cheap in the hands, but it is sharp everywhere and always. I liked the focal lengths of 20-60mm, it gives a non-standard wide angle for this kind of lenses (instead of the usual 24mm) and, at the same time, zooms in well. I find the 20-60mm lens more interesting than the standard 24-70mm.

You should not expect some kind of super color rendering or incredible plasticity and bokeh from a standard kit, but as a kit lens it is excellent, in my opinion. Yes, the aperture is not high, but this is expected for an inexpensive kit lens. Let me remind you that for shooting night landscapes you need tripod. No brightest lens will help with this.

A lot of native optics from both Panasonic and Sigma have already been released on Panasonic cameras with their Leica L-mount mount. All of them are undeniably worthy. The only question is the price. As a rule, this is not a cheap pleasure. Therefore, many people think about using adapters for Canon EF lenses. And it works. Even with inexpensive Commlite adapter you'll get autofocus in photo mode. In video mode, AF with non-native optics seems to work, but very so-so. In point mode, it is quite suitable for photography. So there is an option to save money.

Relative to competitors

I believe that this model has been unfairly neglected relative to other cameras on the market due to not the coolest autofocus. Yes, with such a camera it will be uncomfortable to shoot weddings /matinees/other trash in chaotic lighting. But not everything is around now wedding bombillas. It seems to me that now there are fewer such people.

Panasonic S5 is quite suitable for travel photo / video shooting, for portrait photography, for blogging, for various video work. As for video, the Panasonic S5 has a number of competitive advantages that can outweigh the relatively weak autofocus. Namely:

  • For the price of the Canon R, the Panasonic S5 can shoot 4K video at 10-bit without cropping. I can’t say that this is directly super-critical, but for those who are very passionate about video shooting, this camera will give more for the same money.
  • The Panasonic S5 delivers sharp 4K with good detail (sharper Canon R).
  • Panasonic S5 does not overheat when recording video.
  • No video recording limitin 8 bits - no limit, in 10 bits there is a limit of 30 minutes).
  • Video to log profile by dynamic range Panasonic S5 is even slightly ahead Canon R5, but costs as Canon r.
  • There is an anamorphic mode and a bunch of other specific settings that competitors do not have for this and even more money.
  • Pleasant color reproduction right out of the box, unlike garbage from Sony.
  • Good audio preamplifier - you can write high-quality sound directly to the camera without a recorder.

BONUS: For super professionals, this camera has 2 SD card slots and matrix stub.

Concerning Panasonic S1

Pros of S1

  • More comfortable grip
  • Better screen and viewfinder
  • Normal bitrate in slow motion FullHD 180fps
  • 4K 60fps no crop

Cons S1

  • Expensive
  • Noticeably heavier

Conclusions

So, if you choose wisely and understand your real needs, then the Panasonic S5 will be a good choice for adequate money.

Why is this camera so underrated? Everyone wants the fastest autofocus, the coolest settings, and so on. What for? And just because it is necessary - give me more of everything and more pills for greed.

This camera has real advantages, for which, in this price segment, you can even sacrifice AF speed. But it’s not clear for filming where it’s certainly not suitable without autofocus lighting, although the working ISOs are very high here.

From the standpoint of competitive advantages Panasonic S5 is a more video-centric camera. But for photographers, this is a decent full frame. The camera has good color reproduction and a nice picture in general. With the Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, I was pleased with the compactness of such a versatile kit.